RE­TURN TO WORK

Herald Sun - - CAREERS -

WORK­ERS plan­ning to re­turn to the work­force af­ter a ca­reer break, whether it was for ma­ter­nity leave, in­jury or car­ing for a spouse, can cast fear aside by be­ing in­formed and draw­ing on their re­sources.

Ca­reer Con­fi­dent di­rec­tor He­len Green says ca­reer breaks are be­com­ing more com­mon but work­ers should not un­der­value cre­den­tials and life ex­pe­ri­ence gained dur­ing time away.

She ad­vises work­ers to as­sess their op­tions and goals.

Tem­po­rary, con­tract or vol­un­tary work may be a good start­ing point.

START WITH SELF-ANAL­Y­SIS

“If your cir­cum­stances al­low, don’t rush head­long into job search­ing,” Green says.

“Time taken to eval­u­ate your val­ues, skills and life stage/re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, can pay div­i­dends.”

Ask your­self ques­tions such as whether re­turn­ing to your pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pa­tion is de­sir­able, what new qual­i­fi­ca­tions may be needed, what emerg­ing jobs may suit, and who can help sup­port you in the re­turn-to-work process.

KNOW THE IN­DUS­TRY

Re­search in­dus­tries by read­ing gov­ern­ment jobs’ re­ports, job ad­ver­tise­ments and so­cial me­dia posts from spe­cial­ist re­cruiters.

“Knowl­edge in­spires con­fi­dence,” Green says. “What has changed or is evolv­ing in your field of work or re­lated fields and how can you best po­si­tion your­self to cap­i­talise on this?”

AU­DIT SKILLS

Iden­tify such things as whether regis­tra­tion or cer­ti­fi­ca­tions need to be up­dated, or if a com­puter re­fresher course could be help­ful.

“Keep a look out for free or low-cost train­ing in your lo­cal neigh­bour­hood or on­line,” Green says.

“A word of warn­ing – glossy course web­sites promis­ing out­comes abound. Shop around for cour­ses, com­pare prices, check course ac­cred­i­ta­tions and see if you are en­ti­tled to any gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance.”

DIS­COVER NEW SKILLS

Un­paid work is rel­e­vant, which Green says she knows first-hand.

“As a par­ent, for­mer com­mit­tee vol­un­teer, em­ployee and now busi­ness owner, ar­guably the most chal­leng­ing and skill-build­ing ‘work’ I have un­der­taken over the past 20 years has been un­paid,” she says.

“A client on her ca­reer break had been on call 24/7 for a cat res­cue shel­ter, was trea­surer of a lo­cal prom­i­nent sport­ing club and helped a char­ity man­age fundrais­ing events.

“Be­ing ‘un­paid’ she didn’t think it rel­e­vant to in­clude on her CV, yet it deep­ened her cre­den­tials, dis­played a com­mu­ni­ty­minded ap­proach and en­hanced her em­ploy­a­bil­ity.”

NET­WORK

Re­con­nect with for­mer col­leagues, man­agers or clients, talk to friends, and do not be re­luc­tant to ask for help.

Up­date or cre­ate a pro­fes­sional so­cial me­dia pro­file if you do not have one.

“For many oc­cu­pa­tions, pro­fes­sional net­work­ing sites are in­creas­ingly im­por­tant for job search­ing, grow­ing your pro­fes­sional con­nec­tions and be­ing found by re­cruiters,” Green says.

“Up­date your pro­file and photo, com­pare your pro­file to oth­ers and read up on tips (on how to max­imise the so­cial net­work­ing tool).”

ON TRACK: Ca­reer Con­fi­dent di­rec­tor He­len Green gives ad­vice for find­ing a job that matches your skills and val­ues af­ter tak­ing a ca­reer break.

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